Intel’s Next Unit of Computing (NUC) was designed to be the starting platform for something smaller.  The combination of integrated graphics on mobile CPUs becoming better, SSDs moving to mSATA size, and half-height mini-PCIe cards for WiFi and other connectivity meant that there was potential in having a DIY unit small enough to affix onto the back of a monitor, without people tied down to one particular OEM’s deal on storage or memory.  While Intel’s NUC is out and for sale today at a price point with a small premium over a self-build with a desktop CPU, the ‘competition’ between OEMs to build their own designs, like in the Ultrabook segment, has been relatively slow.  The BRIX is one of the first parts into the ecosystem developed by a manufacturer other than Intel.

The BRIX (bricks) is actually named after Colin Brix, one of Gigabyte’s marketing staff at HQ, who frequently appears in US media video coverage at events like Computex, or showing up with Anand to talk about motherboards.  Despite Colin being based in the motherboard section of the company, the BRIX is actually a product design from the server department.  I was able to speak to Yann Gerardi from the server team about the BRIX.

The BRIX is a full aluminum chassis designed to be smaller than the NUC, with bundled dual band WiFi but customizable in terms of memory and mSATA.  Depending on the CPU the Ivy Bridge BRIX is currently on sale for CAD$320-560.

In terms of future revisions of the BRIX, we reported on the Kabini and Haswell models to also be launched later this year.

The Hardware – Motherboards The Hardware – The Rest (GPUs, Keyboards, Mice, Ultrabooks) and Image Gallery
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  • karamazovmm - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    whats the mobo with some tubes on the pic called gal13? it looks interesting to say the least if they will have a mobo that actually supports custom cooling for the other components on the get to go
  • Homeles - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    The one with the tubes going into it is a blown up model of the board next to it. The heatsinks do support water cooling.
  • Aikouka - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

    I was rather interested when I read that Gigabyte did that, but I ended up disappointed when I saw the board. At least from what I could gather by zooming in on Newegg, it appears that Gigabyte used barbs and you can't remove them. I've only recently been getting into water cooling, but wouldn't most enthusiasts -- you know, those people that pay $400 for a motherboard -- prefer G1/4 ports so they can add their own fitting that "fits" their size and design preference.
  • TGressus - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

  • Myrandex - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    That dual Sandy Bridge-E Motherboard looks sweet!
  • TomWomack - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    I thought Sandy Bridge-E was normally used to refer to the i7/3820, 3930, 3960 ($570 for six 3.2GHz-turbo-3.8GHz cores); that board is described as Xeon E5 ($1552 for six 2.9GHz-turbo-3.5GHz cores).
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    Sandy Bridge-E is the processor family, split into the Core series and the Xeon series. As you would expect, this can only accept Xeons in a 2P configuration.
  • GotThumbs - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    Very cool that more companies are getting into the very small HTPC market. I have a Zotac ZBOX AD12-U and it does a great job connected to my tv via HDMI. Streams video from my server easily without taxing the cpu. I'm using XBMC/OpenELEC from a thumbdrive for now, but will add an SSD down the road.

    Very interesting information.

    Thanks Ian

  • crazedmodder - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    You did not show them but I hope you guys get the P35K and P34G laptops in for review.

    I am curious how good the screens, keyboards, fan noise and battery life are. Supposedly they are both 1080p and the P35K is IPS (P34G I have not seen the screen type mentioned so I assume TN). As long as they do a reasonable job in those areas I have definitely found my new laptop.
  • jb14 - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    Thanks for showing some internal snaps of the brix box. I wonder if you have come across the haswell version of the intel NUC while there? Some of the usual sites have mentioned it comes with up to six USB ports and HD5000 graphics. It would be interesting to compare the brix and new NUC for features, as I can't remember if the Brix had HD5000 graphics or not.

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